The Game's Bad Rap

A never-ending tail with a twist: The Hip-Hop Cops follow their man but lose him in the end.

It's hard to know what's true. One easily checkable detail in Taylor's biography proved not to be true: Craig Lawson, assistant director of media relations at Washington State, tells the Voice that Taylor never attended the school. "I guess that was part of his shtick," Lawson says.

As for the rest of the Game's story, some people think the troubles with his brother are just another publicity stunt and that somewhere down the road there will be a public reconciliation, sort of like the one he had with 50 Cent. However, others think the truce between 50 and Game is just window dressing to appease the Reverend Al Sharpton and others who started making noise about holding the record companies financially accountable for their artists' misbehavior.

If the ambiguous reality that exists in the rap world makes every reported fight, shooting, or arrest questionable to fans, it also puts the cops—who rely on that dubious intelligence to make sure there's not another Biggie Smalls– or Tupac-like execution—in a no-win situation: It's called "profiling" if nothing bad happens, "falling down on the job" if it does. Which is why, as Hip-Hop Cops founder Parker says, the police tail rappers.

Willie Davis/Veras

One true story about the Game was his arrest last November. But a couple of months later, at his arraignment, the Manhattan D.A.'s office indicated that it was willing to make the case go away: The offer was time served—the four hours spent being booked—in exchange for the Game's pleading guilty to the misdemeanor of impersonating a police officer. Given that he lives 3,000 miles away and actually benefits from the publicity of being a lawbreaker, it seemed like a no-brainer.

But Lichtman says the Game told him, "No deal. Take it to trial if you have to."

During the next 10 months, Lichtman went on the attack. He made it clear that he planned to put the Hip-Hop Cops and their tactics on trial.

"I told the prosecutor, 'You're going to lose, this is why you're going to lose, and it's going to be a humiliating loss for you guys. It will be a laugher of a case,' " Lichtman says.

For starters, he asked the prosecutor why the Game would break the law when he knows the police have him under constant surveillance? And where was the badge he supposedly flashed?

In a pre-trial brief filed in May, Lichtman wrote: "At trial the defendant will set forth a theory that the defendant was unfairly followed and targeted by the Rap Intelligence Division simply due to his status as a high- profile rap artist."

Lichtman had predicted to the media that the case would end in dismissal or acquittal.

"I would have to be completely insane to say such a thing if I thought the case was a close call, because I'd make an ass out of myself if I lost," he says. "But the fact that I publicly dared the D.A. to take the case to trial and they responded by stalling, refusing to turn over court-ordered information about the witness [livery driver Butt], and then finally turning tail and offering the dismissal really speaks for itself as to the strength of their case."

The Game says he spent nearly $100,000 in attorney fees and other expenses to shake off the weak case. But no matter how weak it was, the Hip-Hop Cops are still on his tail. He claims that his SUV was followed last Thursday from the airport to court.

"They were in a blue minivan, New York plates," he tells the Voice, and the tail was so obvious that either the Hip Hop Cops wanted him to know they were following or "maybe they think they're invisible."

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